Happy New Year From Comcast: Price Hikes And Misleading Fees For Everybody
from the more-of-the-same dept
Comcast certainly had quite a year. When it wasn’t busy failing to justify its latest attempted mega merger or criticizing bloggers for calling its top lobbyist a lobbyist, the company continued to deliver what’s statistically the worst customer service of any company in the United States. This is before you consider the company’s latest efforts to expand usage caps, and use those usage caps to give their own streaming services a leg up, while payrolling the industry’s attempt to kill net neutrality protections.
As a bow on the shit show that was Comcast in 2015, the company is spreading good cheer for the new year in the only way it knows how: major rate hikes for nearly all of the company’s services. The company is not only jacking up the costs of most of its TV services, it’s raising the rates on most Comcast installer “services”, from installing a new coax jack to the fees charged for upgrading or downgrading your service packages. Also being hiked is the company’s relatively-recent (and aggressively misleading) “broadcast TV fee”:
“Comcast also will hike a “broadcast TV fee” by 66 percent to $5 a month from $3. This relatively new fee covers the cost of retransmission fees that over-the-air broadcast TV networks – CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox – charge cable companies for distributing their networks on pay-TV systems. Retransmission fees and sports are the two biggest inflationary-costs pressures in TV bills, according to industry observers and Comcast executives.”
Except, as the report fails to note, these programming costs are simply the cost of doing business — and should be included in the advertised rate. Instead, companies like Comcast tuck this bogus fee below the line to covertly jack up the advertised price post sale. Of course, cable operators are quick to proclaim that programmers are solely responsible for users’ soaring cable bills, but as you’ll note the cost of everything is going up at Comcast/NBC, from the cost you’ll pay for installer service to the $4 (previously $3) you have to pay for digital adapters.
Clinging to one of the stalest and most insulting price hike justifications in the industry, Comcast claimed the cost increases were necessary to provide that amazing “customer experience” its customers consistently complain they don’t get:
“Comcast spokesman Jeff Alexander said the company continues to invest in its network and technology “and to give customers more for their money – like faster Internet service and more WiFi hot spots, more video across viewing screens, better technology like X1, and a better customer experience.”
Right. That’s the same “customer experience” that’s so consistently awful, the company’s dysfunction goes viral on almost a weekly basis. Some companies are content just aggressively milking the legacy markets they’ve dominated quietly. Comcast’s a different animal entirely, aggressively pushing the barrier on new and amazing anti-competitive ideas with relentless aplomb. The company’s political muscle ensured regulators turned a blind eye for much of the last decade, but Comcast’s attempt to protect this legacy empire with usage caps, overage fees, and zero rating its own streaming services — may finally gift the company with a 2016 run in with the FCC.